Thursday, February 12, 2009


Ready for a visit?

Let’s address a question I posed two weeks ago regarding health care: “Have you ever speculated why doctors take patients off medications which seem to be effective in order to determine if ‘new and improved’ medications might be better?”

Shall we begin our discussion with money? “Money talks,” you know.

“Big Pharma” is a name which represents pharmaceutical and biotech companies with annual revenue in excess of $3 billion, and/or Research and Development expenditure in excess of $500 million! Approximately 30 companies fall into this category. These numbers make even the oil and gas industry profit margins seem small!

According to Big Pharma, they invest all of their drug revenues into research and development, claiming that every new drug requires $800 million in research to develop. However, further investigation reveals that each new drug requires less than $100 million to bring to market! In fact, the vast majority of drug research is funded by taxpayer dollars through grants to research universities.

I wonder… where does all that money go!

Although most health-care practitioners and drug-representatives are oblivious to what is going on, the activity “behind the scenes” at executive levels must be exposed.

* The CEOs of these giant companies stuff their pockets with $134 million in annual salaries, with an additional $115+ million in annual stock option bonuses!

* Flipping through periodicals or T.V. channels, one can quickly surmise that allocating large sums of money for directly promoting pharmaceuticals to consumers must be a worthwhile investment. Studies indicate that many folks who view these “infomercials” become convinced that they’re experiencing these publicized health problems. Together with those already being treated for them, they clamor for the newly improved remedy, which their physician is typically happy to prescribe.

* Because medical people tend to be very busy, Big Pharma spends 90% of its $21 billion annual marketing budget on clever schemes for catching their attention! Although medical personnel purport that the following “little perks” have no influence over their “scientific” decision making, drug marketing strategy studies and articles written by concerned medical professionals indicate otherwise:

· “Drug Reps” are sent into health-care facilities, offering gimmicky items and providing nice meals while introducing the new wonder-working drug.

· Large quantities of “free” drug samples are also offered. At first glance, this appears quite generous. However, once a doctor has dispensed all these samples, patients are presented with a prescription for the costly, new miracle drug.

· All-expenses-paid trips to conferences at luxury resorts all around the world are promoted as “medical education.” Offering required continuing education credits, Big Pharma chooses the class content. For several hours a day, the attendees are “educated” on the latest and most exciting pharmaceutical and biotechnical developments which of course are only available through…. Big Pharma. The remainder of the “educational” time is spent enjoying the amenities of the locale.

Big Pharma has a pretty loud voice; wouldn’t you say? I wonder…does it wield far too much “money power” to be restrained? Stay tuned!


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